Hypnosis

Today I went under hypnosis for the very first time. I was unsure what to expect and can confirm that no tea cups and spoons were involved in the session, as was the case in the film Get Out!

The decision wasn’t immediate, I considered options, read reviews and decided exactly what I needed to get help with in my life before making my choice of which therapy to go for.

My choice was to go to Hypnassist for help with weight management and also to improve my general health and change long~standing food thought patterns. Part of the treatment is having a virtual gastric band fitted but that is only a very small part of the treatment. It involves recognising the power of the subconscious mind and how it protects us, although not always in the best way.

My subconscious can be something of a bugger ~ a discovery explored via years of therapy. Much of what I am trying to put into practice regarding self~love and positive affirmations are covered within the session. It’s a case of changing thought patterns which can be unhelpful. To think in the now and to want to make the positive choices in life and not the easy ones which can steer me wrong.

The hypnosis itself was incredible. I honestly thought there would be no way I would go under, that I am too stubborn to do this. How wrong I was, I went under quite deeply and when I awoke I genuinely felt so incredibly relaxed and positive. A calm happiness, I felt as if I had been in bed and had the best sleep of my life. My mind feels focused and I am going to grasp all the knowledge, self~awareness and advice I have been given.

Positive affirmations are necessary to cement my goals into my subconscious, to focus on them in the present, to visualise where and what I want for life. So, for example to say I am slim, I am beautiful, I am good enough and so on in the present tense as opposed to I will be slim etc.

Another part of the process is to eat cleanly, to remove artificial sweeteners, carbonated drinks, processed foods and anything with chemicals added to them (such as aspartame), from my diet.

It is true when people say “you are what you eat” ~ I am at risk of late onset insulin dependent diabetes as it runs in my mother’s side of the family and I had gestational diabetes during one of my pregnancies. I am also sure that my swollen ankles and pain through my joints will be relieved with a cleaner diet and a loss of weight.

This means that I will have to ditch my tonic water addiction and I have thrown all my artificial sweeteners in the bin. I will, when less groggy and fatigued, go through my fridge, freezer and cupboards and remove all foods which have any chemicals added.

It takes 21 days to change the subconscious beliefs, so it takes work, belief and clear~cut goals in order to achieve success. No treatment will work if you don’t believe in it or are not dedicated to change life long habits or thoughts to make the changes necessary.

The hypnosis has left me feeling more relaxed, focused and positive than ever before.

I believe strongly in the power of the mind. I believe that by taking this step towards looking at life through a different perspective, changing negative thought behaviours and habits is possible.

Kathy was my therapist, she alongside her partner Andy are focused towards helping people like myself to understand and change our thought processes.

My session lasted and hour and a half ~ minutes which were used constructively. Kathy seriously knows her shit, she’s a qualified Hypnotherapist, CBT and DBT counsellor, a Nutritional Therapist and has spent many years working and lecturing in mental health. I could have spent so much longer listening to her, she made so much sense and I had many a “light bulb” moment as her words resonated with me on many occasions and helped me to see things more clearly.

When you meet someone who makes things click in the right way you know you are in safe hands. I trust Kathy and believe 100% that I can succeed now in achieving my goals.

I will return to see Kathy in September for a top up session to help me to continue to succeed and work through any issues that I may struggle with between now and then.

This, for me, isn’t a hit and miss go with something different. This is finding something that makes total sense and being ready and in the right frame of mind to make the essential changes necessary and to work hard at it every day.

If you want to know more about this then please head over to the Hypnassist website here; Hypnotherapy, Hypnosis and Mind Coaching.

So today is day one, a time for change, a time to fully embrace the work I need to do.

Self love and belief is so important, I have tried everything in the past and not succeeded because I never treated myself holistically. I am not dieting, I am not berating myself, I am learning, I am me and I am capable of changing lifelong thought patterns through addressing my subconscious mind and teaching it how to help me constructively to be a better, healthier me.
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x~X~x

 

 

Ants, Butterflies, Bees ~ Oh My!

The garden has very little life in it right now with the exception of the Buddleia which is starting to bloom quite nicely and attracting more critters for me to observe and capture.

I love the Buddleia and it’s small purple flowers, I sit on the wall beside it and watch the various insect species come and go. The buzz of flies, bees and wasps hum around me and teeny critters go about their business undisturbed along its branches and leaves.

When I have the energy to use my camera I sit and wait and then gently stalk my subjects. Sometimes they fly away before I get close, other times they wait for me and allow me to take their images.

Currently my time lifting a camera each day is short because of being in a relapse it physically hurts to lift the camera and leaves my arms weak and very shaky. Other times I have to accept defeat when I simply can’t lift the camera at all.

I have my tripod for still life photography but not insects as they move too quickly to allow me time to set up and get into focus using the tripod and slider.

The other day, as we returned from our long drive (husband drove) to Heathrow and back (dropping of first~born offspring as she jetted off to Jamaica for 6 weeks working with Projects Abroad), we witnessed the tail end of a flying ant convention. Obviously I grabbed my camera and sat down amongst the ants on the garden path. I managed to take a few photos and when finished was covered in ants, as they had crawled all over me whilst I took photos. Thankfully they brush off easily and soon I was ant free.

The photos below are from several days of very short mini shoots in the garden. Some are very blurred with small areas in focus ~ mostly due to my weak and shaky arms and brain fog. I like them though, they are a little dreamy with the blurring and the sharp points are pretty clear.

I hope to be able to take more photographs of butterflies, bees and other critters when I’m a little stronger. The butterflies were difficult to shoot as never stayed still for more than a few seconds. I hope to get clearer, sharper more focused detailed images as the summer goes on, I plan to set up my monopod and just wait quietly until they come close enough to photograph.

I also saw the critter with no name again ~ I have no idea what it is as when I look close up and compare pictures it is different from mealybugs and woolly aphids ~ so if you have the answer please let me know in the comments.

Ants..

Butterlies..

Bees..

Wasp..

Other Weird critter which at first glance looks like a mealybug or whooly aphid but isn’t..

Plants and random stuff..

x~X~x

Snip..snip..snip..

snip
Cutting the apron strings is so bloody hard!

Up until now I have been exceptionally fortunate to have my daughters close to me.

University ~ piece of cake ~ eldest ensconced in flat 15 minutes drive away, as studying at local university.

I love and adore my offspring ~ despite adversity we have come through triumphant as a family, a unit, a force to be reckoned with.

We have each other’s backs, we are fiercely protective of each other and are rarely very far apart.

So for eldest offspring to travel from Heathrow to New York then New York to Kingston alone was excruciatingly terrifying for me. I’m a mother who is tightly wound into the fabric of my off springs lives. We don’t separate, we unite, we are close.

This is the first major challenge for us both ~ we as a family unit miss Keisha horribly ~ we are having to reluctantly accept that little by little we need to cut the apron strings that bind us to allow her to fly solo and find herself as a unique independent strong woman.

She is working with Projects Abroad and helping with disaster management. Whilst she works there she will also be collecting data, running focus groups and interviewing key people within the area she is working. Why? She is using the information to write her dissitation on disaster management this coming year at University.

As a mother, a control freak and emotional wreck I accepted that this day would come. I acknowledge that our daughter has the tools to rise to the challenge and that I must do the same in order to support and respect her choices.

I am immensely proud of her, she is following her gut, her dream, her future.

She wants to spend her life making the lives of others better ~ how can I NOT support that.

So with trepidation, love, support, awe and respect I wave goodbye, trembling chin controlled until she is out of sight and the tears can freely roll.

I sob as the conflicting emotions roll through me, pride, love, fear all jostling for prime position.

As we drive away from the airport the tears still fall, but tears of love, support, admiration and hope.

Hope that this trip will be a keystone towards a future career.

A rung on the ladder to enlightenment.

A journey of empowerment ~ nothing is impossible except our own imagination.

I will miss her keenly for the forthcoming 6 weeks BUT I look forward to hearing about the adventure, discoveries and life experiences she goes through whilst away.

Love is knowing when to let go, when to gently snip the apron strings one by one until our offspring are stepping out in life on their own.

A life yet to be lived, unknown, full of promise.

I support that wholeheartedly and quiet my nervous heart with the words of encouragement ~ we prepared her well. She will be okay. Rejoice in this moment of adventure, discovery and opportunity.

I do, I will and the tears I will quell.

I go to bed knowing my baby is travelling whilst I sleep.  Early this morning I wake and immediately check my phone.

One message, it’s from my first born ~ she’s in JFK airport, her flight to Jamaica has been cancelled and so she is trapped in the connections lounge waiting for news of boarding for the next flight in 7 hours. She dare not sleep for fear of missing any flight information. All the shops are shuttered and closed, it’s 2am there now.

The phone buzzes, it’s my baby. She’s okay, horribly tired and in a ghost terminal with no other passengers and only security guards for company. Security keep asking her why she’s there. She’s close to the only screen which only shows information of one flight ~ hers, screaming CANCELLED across the screen. She says she needs to hang up to conserve her phone battery. She will text when flight information shows her new flight details, then again once she has boarded.

My stomach is in knots, I can’t do anything to help her. I wish I was there to watch over her and allow her to sleep. I can’t but in my heart of hearts I know she will be okay.

She’s strong, intelligent, determined and brave.

Keisha, you go do you gal ~ just know we are all behind you 100%.

x~X~x

Jaded, Weary, Knackered, Whacked & Bushed

NOTE: Please forgive any typo’s or incorrect spellings, poor English and sentence construction. My excuse? Cognitive dysfunction.

Today sees me jaded, weary, knackered, whacked, bushed ~ *insert your favourite word for being tired and fatigued here*

“Pacing”, that ol’ gem ~ so much easier to say than to put into practice and I put my hands up to admit how shockingly bad I am at it. I look at my youngest offspring who has had chronic illness, namely Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, the longest, since 2010, and admire her skill at pacing. She can manage part~time College, modelling and work like a pro, her pacing skills are awesome. Admittedly she sometimes gets it wrong and the teeth of ME firmly bite her in the butt to remind her she’s not rid of “him” *ME in my mind is like the wicked child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, who terrified me as a child*. Although all in all she’s inspiring to observe as she really lives her life and grasps opportunities.

I’m frustrated by the restrictions my body imposes on me yet also grateful that it is able to clamp down on me in this way to impose damage limitation protocols.

In this fatigued state I have embraced Audible. I used to devour books daily and become completely engrossed to the point of being unaware of anything around me. My first book of choice? It had to be my all time favourite book “Good Omens”. Imagine my delight when it turns out to be the radio 4 play version, full of well known voices playing the different parts. I’m now on the last episode but will be listening to it several times because it somehow soothes me. I lie, resting, eyes closed whilst the play reaches me, played from my phone through my portable blue tooth speaker. I am in the play, amongst the characters and living the story with them.

I am late to audible but am now a convert ~ definitely give it a go, if like me reading is now locked off for you for whatever reason. Plus, as an added bonus you can get the first month free as a trial period and request gift vouchers in lieu of presents to purchase books with. You can read more about it here.

Also, in my state of bed and sofa lounging diva my husband ferries back and forth from kitchen to wherever I may be with hot brews and light meals for me. He is my carer and therapist as well as husband, best friend, lover and my life adventurer.

I recently caved and on advice of my various doctors applied for PIP. I have never claimed benefits before and worked hard all my life until illness struck. I suppose my stubborn pride has kept me from applying until now. The booklet to apply was hugely daunting but Dave stepped in and filled it in on my behalf ~ adding all the supporting documents and then posting it via tracked and signed for with Royal Mail. I have had a text from DWP to inform me they have received my application, so it’s now just fingers crossed time as we wait.

Photography is limited to ten minutes here and there within my garden, as the act of holding up my camera is exhausting, standing is draining plus it causes additional pain throughout my entire body. My canvas may be limited but it doesn’t matter as somehow I seem to find something new each time.

Have you ever seen tiny specks of white fluff on your plants? I have in the past and wondered where it came from. Yesterday, by pure fluke, I saw a tiny speck of fluff through my macro lens AND IT MOVED! Intrigued I homed in on it and saw this virtually transparent, minuscule critter underneath the fluff, like a sci~fi version of a teeny tiny snail, with fluff instead of a shell.

Anyone know what it is?

I also found a rather angry leaf, which reminds me of Robert De Niro’s character in the animation Shark Tales…

It’s amazing what you can see in a place which looks barren, our garden is a landscape of brown brittle grass and some sorry looking pot plants along with a Holly tree and Buddleia. I found a walking pot plant man..

Plus a fungal face which looks like a half covered face with eyes covered with a bobbly nose and slit mouth visible on the lower half (it is the stoney root of a large recurring fungus that grows on our lawn)..

Life is challenging when your body is fighting the effects ME, Hypermobility EDS, Fibromyalgia and Allergies on a daily basis ~ but it is never boring, just different.

I consider myself lucky in so many ways ~ my life is blessed with a wonderful, supportive tight knit family, something I treasure and don’t take for granted. Days like today are made easier with their love, support, compassion and understanding. I also am grateful for the online connections I have made, some friendships and bonds that are meaningful and treasured, which the power of the internet has made open and possible for me.

Life is what you make it.

I am intent on making the most of every moment.

Nothing is impossible so they say, although to my mind I can think of a few things that are. Apparently we make our own limitations, which in some instances I can understand ~ in the case of self preservation I certainly do. I get the overall meaning though and yes, somethings are not impossible but you can always find examples of things to counter that. I won’t be walking on the moon anytime soon ~ or handling a spider ~ no matter how tiny or cute. This spider is the size of a ant and a skilled jumper ~ only to be viewed through my lens and far enough to be out of jumping range!

So, back to the beginning, lying on my sofa, iPad perched on my stomach ~ it’s good to find a use for the ol’ pot belly ~ I write this blog. Forced by my body to rest I survey my surroundings and accept that the pain and fatigue show me my body is fighting for me, not against me.

I am resting.

I am understanding.

I am grateful.

I am accepting.

I am laughing.

I am loving.

I am living.

x~X~x

To Flash Or Not To Flash ~ That Is The Question

As you may have gathered from previous posts, I’m enormously fond of macro photography ~ although yet to master it.

I have a ring flash which I have never used until yesterday. I spent my time walking around our now almost arid garden landscape to search for critters to experiment on.

I tried the blue flash ring filter and also the opaque white one. I will be trying out the orange and clear ones over the next couple of days. Being me, I have no knowledge about which to use when and where or whether to “flash” or keep continuous light, then there are options of left, right or both. So it’s all down to experimentation.

I am sort of happy with these, although ants are my nemesis and I have yet to shoot the perfectly clear image of one ~ so the ant ones are a work in progress but I have included them so that over forthcoming blog posts I can see my progress.

So, if you love macro photography and use a flash ring please get in touch and pass on your knowledge, tips and advice ~ I would be hugely grateful.

So without any more waffle from me ~ here are the images and all constructive critisism, tips and advice always welcomed.

So first off ~ the ants!

Some spiders..

A butterfly..

Some flies..

Some other critters..

The very small beginnings of a wasp nest abandoned before completion..

Other random shots..

x~X~x

Mama Mia!

Today was a good day.

This morning after preparing a picnic and collecting all kinds of gear, gardening gloves, scissors, faux flowers, real flowers, zip ties, silver enamel paint and tiny weeny paint brushes I hopped into the car with offspring number 2.

Our destination was Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire, with two goals ~ to visit my mother~in~law and my mum. Both women are in cemetries within close proximity of each other.

First stop was my dads, where we made him jump out of his skin by knocking on his kitchen window as he made a sandwhich. He didn’t know we were coming to the ‘Shire and with a big grin he let us in. We each used the loo, hugged dad and said we would return before travelling back to Derby.

From dads we visited mother~in~law who resides in a lovely spot in Kirkby on Bain church yard directly opposite the church door. Armed with no nails we cleaned up the urn and secured it firmly onto the plinth. Then once all correctly in place we tidied around it and added some fresh spray carnations.  All in all I think it looks great..

Once we had said our goodbyes we left to see my mum ~ who resides in the cemetary just outside of Woodhall Spa. It’s a beautiful spot surrounded by trees, and fields on all sides.

Our mission was to tidy up mums grave as the lettering on her plaque had eroded away and it was looking tired and sorry for itself.

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Before we started work ~ we ate! We hadn’t had breakfast and after the two and a bit hour journey then visits to dad and mother~in~law it was getting well past our lunchtime. So we dug into sarnies, crisps, fruit salad, garlic olives and vegan sausage rolls ~ delish!

Mum loved musicals and loved the film Mama Mia ~ so we queued up a load of Abba music (along with one or two of our kind of songs between) and played it through the blue tooth speaker as we worked.

First job was to cut away all the overgrowth of moss and grass, then to thoroughly clean the plaque ready for painting. I was a little over enthusiastic cleaning and managed to fill my shoes with soil and grass!

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We had a small pot of silver enamel paint and two paint brushes. Armed with wipes to clean away any over spill of paint we worked head to head lying on the grass.

Finally our work was done ~ three coats later the lettering now looks like new.

We replaced the centre faux flowers with some faux roses and had nowhere to put the spray carnations ~ so I popped them in a vase on the grave of one of mums friends instead.

It was emotional, tiring and satisfying work and a day full of happiness amongst the odd tear.

The journey home was hard on my body after having done the drive to the ‘Shire it was not in the mood for driving back at all and screamed at me. Added to the stress of the journey was my car playing up, juddering as I accelerated which worried me so a steady 50 mile an hour drive was all I dared do.

At 8.30pm we arrived back home. A long day but a good day.

x~X~x

In Among The Buttercups

Our garden loves buttercups, they are all over ~ along with the white clover. Bugs and Bees seem to love them, which is awesome, I like nothing more than watching them flit about the lawn.

I decided to just lie on the grass with my camers ~ macro lenss and 20mm extension tube and just wait to see what would come my way.

There are so many micro insects that just like a black speck on the flower ~ then if I look through my macro lens I can see them more clearly. I am loving insects and watching them is become a serious hobby.

I am also getting braver around spiders ~ all be it the micro ones. The problem with the teeny tiny spiders is that they are super fast and never seem to stay in one spot long enough to properly focus and get them fully clear in the photograph. I am now seeking out the spiders and they seem to be very hard to find in this hot weather.

I am continuing to mix and match macro extension tubes, last time was the turn of the 36mm extension tube and yesterday was 20mm’s turn.

Here are a handful of my images ~ some got away because Loki, our Jack Russell Pug cross likes to be my bodyguard and follow me around. Also missed a few shots whilst I was distracting Loki from humping me and others when he ate my subject just as I was about to press the button. He looks up at me afterwards wanting lots of praise too!

A fly with a red heart bottom..

Another critter..

A mini teeny tiny beetle thingymabob..

Some other random garden critters..

ps ~ one of these critters bit me and it hurt like mad, obviously I contorted myself whilst it was busy chowing down on my leg to take it’s picture before brushing it off ~ anyone know what it is? It’s eyes are really cool ~ sorry about the fuzzy image but it was eating my leg..

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x~X~x

Macro Meddling

I’ve been out with my macro lens, extension tubes, tripod and 4 way slider. It was not a success!

The tripod is good and sturdy ~ the monopod (which comes free from the tripod and part of the central column where you fix your camera) is more tricky to use. I find balancing the monopod whilst trying to manually adjust the slider tricky, but the beauty of the monopod is that is more flexible to adjust quickly to get closer to the subject.

So, after trying and failing with the slider on the monopod I decided to go back to the tripod setup.

Now, I have no idea how you super dooper awesomely clear macro photographers get the shot ~ seriously, I am flummoxed. I used the 36mm extension tube (part of a trio which come with mix and match 20mm, 12mm or the 36 mm tubes). I had previously tried the three together on my macro lense which gave awesomely clear shots but usually of the legs disappearing the the side of the image as the subject scarpered before I was ready to take the shot ~ rude!

So, I plumped for the 36mm and attached it to my macro lense ~ I am determined to get some good shots, even though it may take me a while! I plan in the future to use each of the extension tubes seperately and mix and match them together to find the combination that suits me best. I have a feeling this is going to take months!

The thing is, although I really struggle with macro I really love it. There is something so satisfying when after firing of 100’s of shots you find one clear good image.

I need to learn how to work with the light and when to dig out my flash ring and practice, practice, practice.

So for now I leave you with some hit and miss macro shots ~ some of the “misses” I quite like, I enjoy the blur effect.

We have a robin who likes to fly above my head, zipping back and forth across the garden but never landing within shooting distance. I had all but given up on getting any photos of this elusive bird, having had him taunt me relentlessly. THEN, I was quitely sitting on the garden wall in the shade watching the dogs, camera obviously round my neck ~ I don’t like to be separated from it, when this little bird flew up and looked at me ~ he was ready for his photo shoot. I had to be quick as he didn’t stay long ~ only long enough for me to fire off theses shots. The sun was coming from behind him which didn’t make it easy. Here are my attempts at taking this fella’s portrait..

I also found a few critters in the garden, they seem to be few and far between ~ I wonder if the sun is too much for them and they are under leaves and bushes, away from my prying lens…

Then, as I was keeping the dogs company ~ little Loki likes someone to be in the garden with him to through things for him to fetch and play tug with, I had a meander around the garden and took a few random shots..

I have to admit that I love being in the garden with the dogs, but it comes with drawbacks. When I lie on the ground trying to shoot ants, spiders, or whatever may bumble along ~ Loki takes as an invitation to hump me. This results in my gently getting him to dismount and distract him with toys before getting back to it with my camera. Taylor is good ~ he ambles about and watches me, usually from a shady spot where he makes himself comfortable. Loki on the other hand follows me about  ~ watching what I am doing and often ~ when I spot a canditate to shoot ~ he watches and then helpfully eats the subject and looks up for praise for being such a helpful dog! Mind you ~ could you resist this cute face ~ he gets forgiven for almost everything..

x~X~x

Sunny, Sunny

Sunny, sunny weather ~ how I do love thee!

Admittedly it is too hot to venture outside for me during the day but late afternoon and evening brings with it a breeze and shade.

Our “meadow” is growing, although our planted flowers haven’t come up, which I think is due to seeding too late. We have decided that at the end of the year we will kill off the grass on the “meadow” side ready to a create a white clover lawn instead. Once that side has been completed we will do the same on the other side as our poor Loki has awful reactions to grass but not to clover or moss. It would be a muddy impractibility to do both sides at once but hopefully we can do one then the other within the time frame we have.

I received my monopod and 4 way slider and have been itching to use it. The monopod is awesome but I feel that the 4 way slider is only good for statitic macro images and not critters ~ at least for me. I tried using the slider with critters but they had moved or flown away before I was ready for the shot. So that will be something to work and and practice.

So, over the past few days I have been playing with macro, action and deliberate blur photography ~ some I like others I don’t.

I thought I’d share a few with you now and hopefully some more in the future once I have mastered the slider and my extension tubes.